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How The Inspired Unemployed went from tradies to Instagram stars

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The former tradies behind one of Australia’s most loved Instagram pages have revealed how they made the jump from hi-vis to an influencer. Aussie mates Matt Ford, 26, and Jack Steele, 27, worked as tradies when they quit their jobs to chase a full-time social media career.

Today, known by their moniker The Inspired Unemployed, they are internet sensations, with a total of 2.3 million followers. The mates were scared to take such a massive gamble of quitting their jobs – but their considerable risk paid off shortly after downing tools in 2019.

Based in Kiama, the Aussie mates have experience as tradies, with Mr. Steele working as a plasterer while Mr. Ford was a bricklayer. Their videos weren’t an instant success. “It was a pretty slow gradual start from zero to about 7000 or 8000 – it took us a couple of months posting so many videos, just trying to grow,” Mr. Ford told news.com.au.

“It’s funny; you don’t have any idea of what’s going to blow up or not. The ones with the least effort are the usually the ones that happen so naturally – but that’s so hard to find,” Mr. Ford said.

But The Inspired Unemployed posted a succession of videos that had a snowball effect – Mr. Ford dressed up in a wig and lip-synching to Britney Spears; the mates driving down the street as hoons, and the duo dancing on the worksite decked out in tradie gear.

And in early 2020, their videos suddenly took off, and within only two days, the duo jumped from around 9000 followers to 30,000 on social media – a hit of fame that has led to a drastic lifestyle change.

“Everything honestly couldn’t be more different than what it was,” Mr. Ford said. And the secret to their success? Relatability. The Inspired Unemployed draw on Aussie culture and take the piss out of themselves, a combo that has captured the nation’s attention.

“The banter on a job site is so funny. That‘s where we get most of our inspiration from,” Mr. Steele told news.com.au. The young mates have traded in long days of slugging it out on the worksite starting at 7 am to a life of glamour and excitement, spending their time traveling overseas or strutting down a runway for David Jones – something Mr. Ford and Mr. Steele never imagined for themselves.

Not only is it a much more fun lifestyle than doing back-breaking labor every day, but they’re also making a fortune. Last month, a media salary calculator created by Influencer Marketing Hub found that The Inspired Unemployed is the ninth most successful social media influencer in Australia, despite the brand being only a year old. They earn an estimated $3091 for every sponsored post they make across the three platforms – Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

As well as this newfound glamour, they are constantly inundated with every offer under the sun – most of which they turn down. “TV, radio, writing a book … it’s just crazy,” Mr. Steele said. But despite their newfound fame, they are just two Aussie blokes who are still tradies at heart and are itching to get back onto the worksite.

Among their characters and charades, this pared backside to the ex-tradies may be something that many fans may not be too familiar with, which is why the mates have released a new podcast – a new challenge that has been a lot of fun for the duo to show who they are.

“We’ve got a segment coming out in the next couple of weeks about mental health. And we‘re using this to show more of our personalities instead of just acting all the time on Instagram,” Mr. Steele said.

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About author
Tristan McCue is a 26-year-old junior programmer who enjoys reading, binge-watching boxed sets, and appearing in the background on TV. He is smart and friendly, but can also be very evil and a bit lazy.He is an Australian Christian. He has a post-graduate degree in computing.
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